Phillies make desperate trade to add pitching depth amid Eflin and Wheeler’s COVID IL stints
The Philadelphia Phillies are looking for depth in all the wrong places.
On Tuesday, news broke that the club acquired right-handed pitcher Corey Oswalt from the San Francisco Giants, who signed him to a minor-league deal during the lockout.
Oswalt’s name should be familiar to National League East folks, as he was drafted by the Mets in the seventh round of the 2012 June Amateur Draft and pitched for the big-league club for four years, starting in 2018. He has a career 5.89 ERA over 26 games, including 14 starts and four games finished.
Since Oswalt’s debut season in 2018, he hasn’t pitched more than four times in any season and hasn’t pitched at the big-league level this year. He has allowed 10 earned runs on 15 hits in 12 2/3 innings over six games (including one start) with the Giants’ Triple-A affiliates this season.
The righty has faced 431 batters in his career and they’re hitting a collective .276/.337/.496 with a .833 OPS against him. The best thing you can say about his pitching is that his 7.3% walk rate is well below the 8.6% league average; unfortunately, so is his 17.2% strikeout rate, which falls more than 5% below the 22.9% league rate.
Since the 28-year-old has worked as both a starter and reliever, in theory, he can help the Phillies in multiple areas. But the timing of this trade, in light of Eflin and Wheeler’s COVID IL stints, suggests that the two starters might be truly sick, not simply exposed and waiting for the all-clear. And while Eflin is confirmed as vaccinated and the vaccine works to mitigate the virus’ symptoms, Wheeler’s vaccination status is unknown.
This trade doesn’t move the needle for me in any positive way. At best, Oswalt can fill some innings. At worst, he’ll be yet another arm weighing this team down and costing them wins, which is the last thing they need right now.